Issue: Investigation and sentencing of cases of sexual violence and gender-based violence (by sex)

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

Strong institutions contribute to a culture in which sexual violence is less accepted and girls and women have recourse. Yet 37 countries worldwide still have legal loopholes that excuse rape in marriage or if a perpetrator marries the victim. Investigation of sexual violence cases is critical in nations emerging from conflict, where the legacy of sexual violence includes unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, stigmatization and psychological trauma.

One promising measurement approach is the Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS), led by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the Together for Girls partnership. The VACS measure rates of physical, emotional and sexual violence against girls and boys around the world through survey tools, publishing findings in country reports. The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) provides technical advice to the International Crimes Division of the High Court to facilitate compliance with good practices in handling cases of sexual violence and GBV, including studies of redress for GBV in transitional justice and drafting the Guidance Note of the UN Secretary General on Reparations for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.

Issue: Rates of sexual violence (by sex)

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

More than 1/3 girls in some countries report that their first sexual encounter was coerced. Most girls report this first happened during adolescence – a time when girls are more vulnerable to sexual violence and suffer unique long-term consequences, including mental and physical health issues, stigma and shame, unintended pregnancy, and complications during pregnancy and childbirth, as well as higher risks of IPV and exploitation (including sex work) in adult life.

The UN’s SDG Indicators Global Database suggests household surveys as a way to measure the number of people who report having experienced sexual violence by age 18. However, there are issues on the accuracy of survey data, given the likelihood of under-reporting, and such data are unavailable in the WHO’s Global Health Observatory data repository for many countries. The WHO report Global and Regional Estimates of Violence Against Women assesses individual country information on sexual violence, as does the UN Women Global Database on Violence Against Women. UNICEF’s report A Familiar Face: Violence in the Lives of Children and Adolescents uses available data to assess sexual violence in childhood and adolescence. Governments’ commitments on this issue are reflected in their adoption and implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, with most of the 74 countries and territories with NAPs including protection from gender-based violence (GBV).

Issue: Women’s participation in police and security forces

Relevance and promising measurement approaches:

The inclusion of women and civil society groups in peace negotiations makes resulting agreements 64% less likely to fail and 35% more likely to last at least 15 years, according to data from 1989-2011. Yet, women make up only 4% of signatories to peace agreements and, as of 2015, only 3% of UN military peacekeepers and 10% of UN police personnel were women. Data from 39 countries reveal that women are more likely to report gender-based violence (GBV) to female police officers and peacekeeping personnel, and the establishment of female security forces in conflict and post-conflict countries is one way to mitigate sexual violence and reduce abuses by security bodies.

A promising approach is the Women, Peace and Security Index 2017-18, which has used international data sources to rank 153 countries on measures of women’s inclusion, security, well-being and access to justice.